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Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

A child receives distance education via the Internet because of Covid 19
An online tutoring startup in Vienna has broken an investment record. File photo: Ahmed Hindawi/Unsplash

Austria’s vaccine mandate law receives record-breaking response

During its review period which ended on Monday, the draft of Austria’s vaccine mandate law had received 108,325 statements of opinion, a record.

Relevant organisations are invited to submit their opinions on draft laws including those who will be involved in their implementation, and private individuals can also respond.

The digital health organisation for example said in their response that setting up the technical infrastructure for the mandate would be tough to achieve by the February 1st deadline. The Chamber of Commerce was in favour of postponing the mandate.

In this case, the majority of responses came from private individuals, many submitting the same text.

Viennese startup GoStudent breaks investment record

Vienna tutoring startup GoStudent raised €300 million in an investment round, breaking an Austrian record.

The company is currently valued at €3 billion. In total it has raised over €590 million since its launch in 2016, and became Austria’s second ‘unicorn’ startup, following Bitpanda.

Police warn of societal divisions in open letter

Around 600 police officers across Austria have written an open letter to Interior Minister Gerhard Karner to express concerns about “the rule of law, freedom of expression and fundamental rights as well as health”.

They said that the planned vaccine mandate was causing division in society at large as well as within the police force, and said that compulsory vaccination could lead to “committed and qualified” staff leaving the police.

The letter-writers said they were not tied to any association or union, or to right- or left-wing extremism. A copy of the letter published by the Wiener Zeitung can be viewed here.

Housing prices in Austria rose by over 10% last year

That’s according to analysis by Unicredit Bank Austria, as reported in Der Standard.

While incomes also rose in 2021, but at an average increase of 5 percent they do not keep pace with the fast increasing costs of property.

In 2021, a 100 square-metre flat would cost the average Austrian 15 times their annual salary, compared to 13.5 before the pandemic.

Vienna’s City Hall ice rink to open next week

At 9,500 square metres, the ice rink at Rathausplatz will be larger than ever when it opens on January 19th with requirements for 2G and FFP2 masks.

Visitors can buy tickets on line to receive a QR code to enter via turnstiles, and this is ten percent cheaper than buying on-site, in an attempt by organisers to avoid queues or bottlenecks.

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For members


Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Innsbruck most expensive place to rent, call to tax energy companies' profits, more women in Austria's boardrooms, and other news from Austria on Tuesday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Innsbruck most expensive place to rent

A comparison of rental prices across Austria has found that Tyrol’s capital, Innsbruck, is the most expensive place to rent a property, with Salzburg in second place. Vienna comes seventh in the comparison by the Krone newspaper. Innsbruck residents pay EUR 4.60 more per square metre than the Viennese. Nine of the ten most expensive districts are in Tyrol, Salzburg and Vorarlberg.

Among the best value of the 78 districts surveyed, three are in Styria.

READ MORE: How to find a rental flat when you arrive in Austria 

Calls to tax profits of energy companies by Austria’s Vice Chancellor 

Werner Kogler (Greens) has joined the voices of the opposition SPÖ party, the Chamber of Labor and trade unions in calling for taxation of “excess profits” made by energy companies. However, the OVP party, which governs Austria in coalition with the Greens, has distanced itself from this idea. The  Federation of Austrian Industries (IV-Vienna)chief Christian C. Pochtler described the plan as a “midsummer night’s dream” and “populist activism”, according to Der Standard newspaper.

Proportion of women in board positions at almost 30 percent

Only 29 percent of the companies in the Vienna Stock Exchange Index (WBI) have at least one woman on the executive board according to the “Mixed Leadership Barometer” survey  by the consulting firm EY. Overall, however, the proportion of women in boardrooms have increased in Austria. A total of 17 women sit on the boards of WBI companies, one more than at the beginning of the year. Five women currently work as CFO and four as CEO. Two women each work as Chief Operating Officer or Chief Customer Officer.

The real estate industry has the highest proportion of female board members at 20 percent. In second place is the consumer goods sector with a share of 19 percent. In industry, the proportion of women on the board is 9.5 percent, according to broadcaster ORF

Ex-football player arrested following match

The Upper Austrian police have been creating headlines after arresting ÖFB legend Hans Krankl following a Bundesliga match between LASK and Rapid on Sunday evening. The 69-year-old TV commentator is said to have disobeyed police instructions. According to the report, the local police wanted to ensure a coordinated departure of the thousands of football fans when the incident occurred. “The driver did not follow the clearly given stop signal and drove towards a police officer. He only stopped his vehicle when there had already been slight physical contact between the officer and the bumper of the car,” says the official police report.

Krankl was not mentioned by name in the police report, but he confirmed the incident to the Krone newspaper. However, he said he denies the allegations, adding the road was clear and there was no reason to stop him. He told the Krone  that he was a friend of the police.